Book Review: Kurson’s Shadow Divers

Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II

Robert Kurson

The story of how a group of amateur divers discovered the wreck of a German U-boat off the coast of New Jersey in 1991. Yes, that’s right, 1991. It’s a pretty incredible story. A alcoholic boat captain and some amateur divers take a chance on a rumor of a sunken ship and discover not just a ship, but a sub, and not just a sub, but a U-boat, and not just a U-boat, but one never before recorded. From there, the story follows two divers who become increasingly obsessed with figuring out the story of the sub. Along the way there’s death, deep sea diving history, obsession, broken marriages, WWII history and more.

It’s a compelling read albeit written in the sort of workman like prose of the career journalist. No gorgeous turns of phrase here — just facts and dialogue, with the occasional slightly purple internal monologue.

On a personal note, I read this while riding the train back and forth to visit E in the hospital. It took my mind off the stresses of the time, and that’s about all you can ask of a book like this.

Recommended for the enthusiast.

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  1. The Grand World of Books

    Not my kind of book, but you make it sound fascinating! Great review!

    1. seanv2

      Its definitely interesting, and a very quick read. Still crazy to me that they found a german sub in 1991!

      1. The Grand World of Books

        Because it’s so long after the war?

      2. seanv2

        Yes! At it isn’t like it was way in the middle of the Atlantic, its off the coast of New Jersey! You’d think someone would have gotten there first.

      3. The Grand World of Books

        How peculiar. I mean, there’s a ton of ocean out there, but near the coast, that is pretty surprising.

      4. seanv2

        It is strange. The book goes into the reasons why. Basically, it was thought that all u-boats lost near the U.S. had been accounted for, but for a bunch of convoluted (and fascinating) reasons, that wasn’t correct.

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